How long does it take? And how can I appeal?
The Social Security disability process is a five step process. Once you put in the initial application it takes about four to six months to get an answer and there is a high denial rate of about 80% to 85%. If your request is denied, you then have 60 days to appeal and the application goes to the reconsidering level. This step is a four to six-month process with a 90% denial rate at that level. Once someone is denied at the reconsidering level, they can request a hearing.
This is where we see a lot of delays due to the closure of the Augusta office. Hearing delays can now run close to a 2 year wait. If someone is denied at the hearing level, they can request a review by the appeals counsel. The only way the appeals counsel or federal court is going to reverse a decision is if there is a substantial error of law or if evidence does not support the decision. This is why the entire process can take a couple of years.